Usually I just eat kiwis (the fruit, not the bird) whole, but the other day I decided to cut it up in a nonsensical way. Upon doing so, I was struck by the beauty of the cross and longitudinal sections of the fruit (a type of berry).
Doing various sections of a plant or fruit is useful in that it shows us different features of that structure. In first photo, the cross section of the fruit shows us the a central stalk that is surrounded by hundreds of little black seeds. That central axis with seeds surrounding it suggests to me that we are looking at a fruit with free central placentation. Between the seeds, we also see these long white lines (vascular bundles) that are transporting water and sugar from the mother plant and out to the juicy fruit wall. These outer layers of the fruit can be called the ovary wall and have 3 layers: exocarp (brown rough surface), mesocarp and endocarp (these blend together in this particular fruit).
Looking at our 2nd photo (a longitudinal section through the centre), we see these thin, hooked stalks that connect the seeds to the placenta of the central acess. These little stalks have a really fun name….it’s called a funiculus! I found it pretty cool to see each little seed getting it’s own little life line, which is similar to a umbilical cord, i suppose.
Our last photo (a longitudinal section off the centre) was the most exciting to me. I think I took this cut just off the central axis such that we standing on the edge of the placenta and looking out at a wall of seeds (kind of). In this image, we don’t see the funiculus, but instead see the long, elevator like rows of vascular tissues that bringing all the nutrients from the mother plant to the seeds and probably also to the ovary wall.
Anyway, I’ve probably gone on enough about this kiwi. I’ll finish off by saying that this plant is also called Actinidia deliciosa and it is part of the Actinidaceae family. I don’t know much about this family because it has a mostly Asian distribution. The kiwi is pretty cool in that they grow on tall, woody vines called lianas, which use trees as support to grow taller.